January

Day 1.

If you have no satisfactory teacher, then take this sure Dhamma and practice it. For the Dhamma is sure and when it is rightly undertaken it will be to your welfare and happiness for a long time.

M.I,401

Day 2.

The Lord said to the monks: “Imagine that the whole earth was covered with water, and that a man was to throw a yoke with a hole in it into the water. Blown by the wind, that yoke would drift north, south, east and west. Now suppose that once in a hundred years a blind turtle was to rise to the surface. What would be the chances of that turtle putting his head through the hole in the yoke as he rose to the surface once in a hundred years?”

“It would be very unlikely, Lord.”

“Well, it is just as unlikely that one will be born as a human being. It is just as unlikely that a Tathagata, a Noble One, a fully enlightened Buddha, should appear in the world. And it is just as unlikely that the Dhamma and discipline of the Tathagata should be proclaimed. But now you have been born as a human being, a Tathagata has appeared and the Dhamma has been proclaimed. Therefore, strive to realize the Four Noble Truths.”

S.V,456

Day 3.

The doors of the Immortal are open.
Let those who can hear respond with faith.

M.I,169

Day 4.

For a disciple who has faith in the Teacher’s instruction and who lives in harmony with it, his thinking is: ‘The Teacher is the Lord, I am the disciple. The Lord knows, I do not.’ For a disciple who has faith in the Teacher’s instruction and who lives in harmony with it, the Teacher’s instruction is nourishing and strength-giving. The thinking is: ‘Gladly would I have my skin, bone and sinews wither and my flesh dry up, if only I can struggle until I win that which can be won by human effort.’ And for a disciple who has faith in the Teacher’s instruction and who lives in harmony with it, one of two results can be expected; profound knowledge here and now, or if there is any basis for rebirth remaining, the state of Non-Returning.

M.I,480

Day 5.

Unsurpassed is the Lord’s way of teaching the Dhamma concerning one’s proper moral conduct. One should be honest and faithful, without deception, chatter, hinting or belittling, not always ready to add gain to gain, but with the sense-doors guarded, moderate in food, a promoter of peace, observant, active and strenuous in effort, a meditator, mindful, with proper conversation, steady-going, resolute and sensible, not hankering after sense pleasures, but mindful and prudent. This is the unsurpassed teaching concerning a person’s proper ethical conduct. This, the Lord fully comprehends and beyond it nothing lies to be further comprehended. And in such matters there is no other monk or brahman who is greater or more enlightened than the Lord concerning one’s moral conduct.

D.III,106–78*

Day 6.

“What do you think about this?” said the Lord. “What is the purpose of a mirror?” “It is for the purpose of reflection, sir”, replied Rahula. “Even so, an action to be done by body, speech or mind should only be done after careful reflection.”

M.I,415

Day 7.

To sacred hills, woods and groves,
To sacred trees and shrines
Do people go, gripped by fear.

But they are not safe refuges,
Not the best refuge.
Not by going there
Is one freed from all suffering.

But whoever takes refuge
In the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha
Will understand with wisdom
The Four Noble Truths:

Suffering, its cause, its overcoming,
And the Noble Eightfold Path
Leading to its overcoming.

And this is a safe refuge,
It is the best refuge.
Having taken refuge here,
One is freed from all suffering.

Dhp.188–92

Day 8.

As long as the sun and the moon have not come to be, there is no shining forth of great light, no great radiance. Only darkness and blindness prevail. There is no day or night; no months, fortnights or seasons are distinguishable. But when the sun and the moon have come to be, then there is a shining forth of great light, of great radiance. Darkness and blindness are no more. Days, nights, months, fortnights and seasons are distinguishable.

In the same way, as long as the Tathagata, the Noble One, the fully enlightened Buddha, has not come to be, there is no shining forth of great light, no great radiance. Only darkness and blindness prevail. There is no proclaiming, no teaching, no explaining, no setting forth, no opening up, no analysis of or illuminating of the Four Noble Truths. But when the Tathagata, the Noble One, the fully enlightened Buddha has come to be, there is a shining forth of great light, of great radiance; darkness and blindness are no more. There is a proclaiming, a teaching, an explaining, a setting forth, an opening up, an analysis, an illuminating of the Four Noble Truths.

S.V,442

Day 9.

I will teach you the Noble Eightfold Path; I will analyze it for you. Listen carefully and I will speak. And what is the Noble Eightfold Path? It is Perfect View, Perfect Thought, Perfect Speech, Perfect Action, Perfect Livelihood, Perfect Effort, Perfect Mindfulness and Perfect Concentration. And What is Perfect View? It is the knowledge of suffering, the cause of suffering, the overcoming of suffering and the way to the overcoming of suffering. And what is Perfect Thought? It is the thought of giving up, the thought of love, and the thought of helpfulness. And what is Perfect Speech? It is the avoiding of lying, slanderous, harsh speech and of idle chatter. And what is Perfect Action? It is the avoiding of killing, stealing and sexual misconduct. And what is Perfect Livelihood? Concerning this, a noble disciple, by giving up wrong means of livelihood, adopts a perfect livelihood. And what is Perfect Effort? Concerning this, one puts forth the desire, makes an effort, strives, applies the mind and directs it to prevent the arising of evil unskilled states not yet arisen, to destroy evil unskilled states that have already risen, to arouse skillful states that have not yet arisen, and finally, puts forth the desire, makes an effort, strives, applies the mind and directs it towards the continuation, the unification, the growth, the development and the fulfillment of skillful states of mind. And what is Perfect Mindfulness? Concerning this, one abides contemplating body in body, feeling in feeling, mind in mind and mental states in mental states, ardent, clearly conscious so as to control the attraction and repulsion in the world. And what is Perfect Concentration? Concerning this one cultivates the four jhanas.

S.V,8

Day 10.

It is certain that a clod of earth
Thrown into the sky will fall to the ground.
So too, the words of the supreme Buddha
Are always certain and sure.

It is certain that the sun will rise
When the darkness of night fades away.
So too, the words of the supreme Buddha
Are always certain and sure.

It is certain that the lion will roar
As it emerges from its den.
So too, the words of the supreme Buddha
Are always certain and sure.

Ja.I,19*

Day 11.

The doctrines of which you can say: ‘These doctrines do not conduce to good, to turning away, to fading, to calming, to higher knowledge, or to Nirvana’ – you can be certain that they are not Dhamma, not discipline, not the word of the Teacher. But the doctrines of which you can say: ‘These doctrines do conduce to good, to turning away, to fading, to calming, to higher knowledge, and to Nirvana’ – you can be certain that they are Dhamma, they are discipline, they are the word of the Teacher.

A.IV,143

Day 12.

Just as the great ocean has one taste, the taste of salt, even so, this Dhamma has one taste too, the taste of freedom.

Ud.56

Day 13.

If beings knew as I know the results of sharing gifts, they would not enjoy their use without sharing them with others, nor would the taint of stinginess obsess the heart and stay there. Even if it were their last and final bit of food, they would not enjoy its use without sharing it, if there were anyone to receive it.

It.18

Day 14.

Mahali asked the Lord: “Sir, what is reason, what is the cause of doing, of committing an evil deed?”

“Greed, hatred, delusion, not paying proper attention and wrongly directed thoughts – these are the reasons, these are the causes of doing, of committing an evil deed.”

“Then what, Sir, is the reason, what is the cause of doing, of performing a beautiful deed?”

“Generosity, love, wisdom, paying attention and rightly directed thought. These are the reasons, these are the causes of doing, of performing a beautiful deed.”

A.V,86

Day 15.

What sort of Dhamma practice leads to great good for oneself? Concerning this, the noble disciple reflects: ‘Here am I, fond of life, not wishing to die, fond of pleasure and averse to pain. If someone killed me, I would not like it. Likewise, if I were to kill someone they would not like it. For what is unpleasant to me must be unpleasant to another, so how could I inflict unpleasantness on them?’ As a result of such reflection one abstains from killing, encourages others to abstain from it and speaks in praise of such abstaining.

Again, the noble disciple reflects: ‘If someone were to steal what was mine, I would not like it. Likewise, if I were to steal what belonged to someone else they would not like it. For what is unpleasant to me must be unpleasant to another and how could I inflict unpleasantness on them?’ As a result of such reflection one abstains from stealing, encourages others to abstain from it and speaks in praise of such abstaining.

Again, the noble disciple reflects: ‘If someone were to have intercourse with my spouse I would not like it. Likewise, if I were to have intercourse with another’s spouse they would not like it. For what is unpleasant to me must be unpleasant to another and how could I inflict unpleasantness on them?’ As a result of such reflection one abstains from wrong sexual desire, encourages others to abstain from it and speaks in praise of such abstaining.

Once again, the noble disciple reflects: ‘If someone were to ruin my benefit by lying I would not like it. Likewise, if I were to ruin someone else’s benefit by lying they would not like it. For what is unpleasant to me must be unpleasant to another and how could I inflict unpleasantness on them?’ As a result of such reflection one abstains from lying, encourages others to abstain from it and speaks in praise of such abstaining.

A noble disciple reflects further: ‘If someone were to estrange me from my friends by slander, speak harshly to me, or distract me with pointless, frivolous chatter, I would not like it. Likewise, if I were to do this to another they would not like it. For what is unpleasant to me must be unpleasant to another and how could I inflict unpleasantness on them?’ As a result of such reflection one abstains from slander, harsh speech and pointless chatter, encourages others to abstain from it and speaks in praise of such abstaining.

S.V,353

Day 16.

Greed is to be slightly blamed but it is slow to change. Hatred is to be greatly blamed but it is quick to change. Delusion is to be greatly blamed and it is slow to change.

A.I,200

Day 17.

There are these four kinds of happiness to be enjoyed by a householder who enjoys sense pleasures from time to time and when occasion offers. What four? The happiness of ownership, the happiness of wealth, the happiness of freedom from debt and the happiness of blamelessness. And what is the happiness of ownership? Concerning this, a householder has wealth acquired by energetic striving, won by strength of arm and sweat of brow, justly and lawfully. When he thinks of this he feels happiness and satisfaction. And what is the happiness of wealth? Concerning this, a householder has wealth justly and lawfully acquired, and he does many good works with it. When he thinks of this he feels happiness and satisfaction. And what is the happiness of freedom from debt? Concerning this, a householder owes no debts large or small to anyone, and when he thinks of this he feels happiness and satisfaction. And what is the happiness of blamelessness? Concerning this, the noble disciple is blessed with blameless action of body, speech and mind, and when he thinks of this he feels happiness and satisfaction.

A.II,67

Day 18.

One who is wise and disciplined,
Always kindly and intelligent,
Humble and free from pride,
One like this will win respect.

Rising early and shunning laziness,
Remaining calm in times of strife,
Faultless in conduct and clever in actions,
One like this will win respect.

Being able to make friends and keep them,
Welcoming others and sharing with them,
Being a guide, a philosopher and a friend,
One like this will win respect.

Being generous and kindly in speech,
Doing favors for others
And treating all alike,

These are the things that
Make the world turn smoothly
The way the linch-pin holds firm
The chariot’s spinning wheel.

D.III,192

Day 19.

There are these four types of people found in the world. What four? Those who are concerned neither with their own good nor the good of others, those who are concerned with good of others but not their own, those concerned with their own good but not that of others, and those who are concerned with both their own good and the good of others. Just as a stick from a funeral pyre, burning at both ends and smeared with dung in the middle, serves no useful purpose as fuel in the village or as timber in the forest- using such a simile do I speak of those concerned neither with their own good nor the good of the others. Those concerned with the good of others but not their own are more excellent and higher than this. Those who are concerned with their own good but not that of others are more excellent and higher still. But those who are concerned with both their own good and the good of others – they are, of these four persons, the supreme, the highest the topmost and the best. Just as from a cow comes milk, from milk cream, from cream butter, from butter ghee, and from ghee the skimming of ghee, which is said to be the best, even so, those who are concerned with their own good and the good of others are, of these four persons, the supreme, the highest, the topmost and the best.

A.II,95

Day 20.

These ten things nourish the ten things that are desirable, liked, charming and hard to win in the world. What ten? Energy and exertion nourish wealth. Finery and adornment nourish beauty. Doing things at the proper time nourishes health. Friendship with the beautiful nourishes virtue. Restraint of the senses nourishes the holy life. Not quarrelling nourishes friendship. Repetition nourishes great knowledge. Listening carefully and asking questions nourish wisdom. Study and examination nourish the Dhamma. And living rightly nourishes rebirth in the heaven realm.

A.V,136

Day 21.

If a fool was sitting in an assembly hall, in the main street or at the crossroads and people were to talk about him, and if he were one who broke the Five Precepts, he would think: ‘These people are talking about me because I have done these things.’ This is the first kind of anguish and dejection that the fool experiences here and now. Again, a fool might see the king arrest a thief or a wrongdoer and punish him. Upon seeing this, the fool would think: ‘The king is punishing that wrongdoer. Now, I have done these things also, so if the king were to know about me, he might punish me too.’ This is the second kind of anguish and dejection that the fool experiences here and now. And further, while the fool is sitting in a chair, lying on a bed or on the ground, those evil deeds that he has previously done with body, speech or mind, come to rest on him, lie on him, settle on him, just as when at evening, the shadows of the great mountains come to rest, lie and settle on the ground. At such times, the fool thinks: ‘Oh indeed, what is beautiful and skillful has not been done by me. I have made no refuge against the fearful. There is a place for those who have not done good but only evil, and to there I will go.’ And so he grieves, mourns, laments, beats his breast, cries and falls into disillusionment. This is the third kind of anguish and dejection that the fool experiences here and now.

M.III,163–4

Day 22.

Whoever follows the Dhamma
Should not drink or encourage others to drink,
Knowing that intoxication is the result.
Because of intoxication,

The fool commits evil deeds
And makes others negligent too.
So, avoid this root of wrong,
This folly liked only by fools.

Sn.398–399

Day 23.

With four qualities the wise, intelligent, worthy person proceeds through life with firm foundations, smoothly, irreproachably, not censured by the wise. What four? With good conduct of body, speech and mind, and with gratitude, with gratefulness.

A.II,229

Day 24.

If the one who does no wrong
Follows one who does,
He himself will be suspected of evil
And his reputation will decline.

According to the friends one makes,
According to who one follows,
So does one become.
Like one’s associates one becomes.

Follower and following,
Contacter and contacted alike,
An arrow smeared with poison
Infects those arrows that are not poisoned,
So that all are fouled.
The upright person not wishing to be soiled
Should not keep company with the fool.

If one strings a piece of putrid fish
On a blade of kusa grass,
The grass will smell putrid too;
The same with one who follows the fool.

If one wraps tagara
In an ordinary leaf,
The leaf will soon smell sweet too;
The same with one who follows the wise.

Remembering the example of the leaf wrapping
And understanding the results,
One should seek companionship with the wise,
Never with the fool.

It.68

Day 25.

Believers can be recognized by three things. What three? They desire to see those who are virtuous, they desire to hear the good Dhamma, and with a heart free from stinginess, they live at home with the mind cleaned of meanness, open-handed, pure-handed, delighting in sharing, being one to ask a favour of, being one who rejoices in giving.

A.I,150

Day 26.

As regards the way in which the Lord has worked for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of both gods and humans, except for the Lord we find no teacher like this whether we survey either the past or the present.

Beautifully taught is the Lord’s Dhamma, immediately apparent, timeless, of the nature of a personal invitation, progressive, to be attained by the wise, each for himself. Except for the Lord we find no one who could proclaim such a progressive teaching, whether we survey the past or the present.

The Lord has clearly explained what is right and what is wrong, what is blameworthy and what is praiseworthy, what is to be followed and what avoided, what is low and what is high, what is impure, what is pure and what is mixed. Except for the Lord, we find no one who could so clearly explain such things, whether we survey the past or the present.

The Lord has well taught to his disciples the Way leading to Nirvana and they merge into each other, Nirvana and the Way, just as the Ganges and Yamuna flow into each other and go on united. Except for the Lord, we find no teacher of the Way leading to Nirvana, whether we survey the past or the present.

The Lord has gained many companions, both learners and those who have destroyed the defilements, and the Lord lives together with them, all of them rejoicing in unity. Except for the Lord, we find no teacher such as this, whether we survey the past or the present.

Gifts given to the Lord result in great good, his reputation is well established so that nobles seek him out to give him gifts. And yet because of this, he does not feel proud. Except for the Lord, we find no teacher who acts thus, whether we survey the past or the present.

The Lord acts as he speaks, and he speaks as he acts. Except for the Lord, we find no teacher as consistent as this, whether we survey the past or the present.

The Lord has crossed over doubt, transcended all hesitation; in regard to the goal of the holy life, he has accomplished his aim. Except for the Lord we find no teacher who has done this, whether we survey the past or the present.

D.II,222*

Day 27.

When the sky pours down big rain drops, that water flows down and fills the gullies, clefts and valleys, and then fills the ponds, then the big pools, then the lakes. The filling of the lakes fills the streams, the streams fill the rivers and the great rivers eventually fill the ocean.

In the same way, for the noble disciple who has unwavering faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, and who has virtues dear to the Noble Ones, these conditions flow onward and reach the further shore and lead to the destruction of the defilements.

S.V,396

Day 28.

One who wants to admonish another should first investigate: ‘Am I or am I not one who practices complete purity in body and speech? Am I or am I not possessed of complete purity in body and speech, flawless and untainted? Are these qualities present in me or not?’ If they are not, there are undoubtedly people who will say: ‘Come now, practice correct bodily and verbal conduct yourself.’ There are people who would say this. One who wants to admonish another should first further investigate: ‘Have I developed a mind of love, free from malice towards my fellows in the holy life? Is this quality established in me or not?’ If he has not, there are undoubtedly people who will say: ‘Come now, develop a mind of love yourself.’ There are people who would say this.

A.V,79

Day 29.

It is good to be an able householder, to share one’s food, to be modest about one’s wealth and not be downcast if it declines.

Ja.III,466

Day 30.

By three things the wise person may be known. What three? Seeing a shortcoming as it is. On seeing a shortcoming trying to correct it. And when another acknowledges a shortcoming, forgiving it as should be done.

A.I,103

Day 31.

Cease to do evil, learn to do good,
Purify the mind –
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Despising none, harming none,
Being restrained by the monastic rules,
Moderation in food, living in solitude
And devotion to mediation –
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Seeing conflict as a danger
And harmony as peace,
Abide in unity and kind-heatedness
This is the teachings of the Buddhas

The mediation on love should be done
For oneself and others also.
All should be suffused with love –
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Dhp.183; 185; Cp.3,15,13; Mil.394